Chris Moneymaker was the guy who did more than any other player to set off the online poker boom, winning the 2003 WSOP Main Event after qualifying for just $39 on PokerStars. Since then he has been desperate for another big WSOP win, and this might just be his time.
At the close of day one of the $40,000 No Limit Hold'em tournament, Moneymaker bagged up 805,000 in chips, just 7,000 or so behind leader Bruno Fitoussi. His rise up the chip ladder had not been down to some huge series of double ups, instead he increased his stack steadily, right up until the close of play when he was still re-raising and taking sizeable pots as a result.
While he must feel elated tonight - although knowing there's still a long, long way to go, with 89 of the 201 starters still in the hunt - Vanessa Rousso is delighted just to be in the table draw for tomorrow. She'd slid down to 60,000 or so and got all in with 8-8, which to her great relief was good on a board showing J-K-2-K-Q. With that she was bagging up just minutes later with 165,500 chips.
Finishing high in chips, just breaking the 600,000 barrier, is Team PokerStars Holland Pro player Lex Veldhuis, while Team PokerStars Pro Greg Raymer will be back with 213,000 (the chip average is 271,000), ahead of John Duthie, Humberto Brenes and Johaness Strassmann.
Those we lost include ElkY late on, Daniel Negreanu, Joe Hachem, Barry Greenstein, Gavin Griffin, Ivan Demidov, Peter Eastgate and Dennis Phillips.
We'll have the full official chip counts up when we get them, but in the meantime reporting restrictions mean we can go with the unofficial top ten only:
Bruno Fitoussi, 812,500
Chris Moneymaker, Team PokerStars Pro, 805,000
Emil Patel, 615,000
Lex Veldhuis, Team PokerStars Holland Pro, 606,500
Justin Bonomo, 570,000
Michael DeMichele, 550,000
Kyle Wilson, 520,000
Brian Townsend, 512,000
Alan Sass, 440,000
Matthew Marafioti, 415,000
We'll be back for day two of this four-day event tomorrow, when we'll also be keeping an eye on the start of event #3, the Omaha Hi-Low Split 8 or Better $1,500 event, which Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu has said he plans to enter.